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The UK has a strong tradition of attracting international businesses which are expanding their operations or want a footprint in Europe. The UK has the most extensive tax treaty network in the world. Over recent years, the main corporate tax rate has been reduced significantly.

The UK holds a number of other key attractions for those who wish to establish businesses, among them:

  • No withholding tax on dividends, irrespective of where the shareholder is resident;
  • UK tax exemption on qualifying foreign dividends;
  • Capital gains exemption where a UK resident company sells shares, if certain conditions apply;
  • A corporation tax rate of 20% with further rate reductions scheduled;
  • Double tax relief for foreign tax paid on dividends

UK - Key Facts

24 hours (premium fee applies) or 5-6 working days (standard incorporation procedure)

Shelf Companies: 

Authorised Share Capital: 
Unlimited and no restriction on currency

Issued Share Capital

  • Minimum paid up share capital = £1
  • No restriction on currency
  • No capital tax on issued share capital


  • Minimum number of directors: 1
  • Individual director required although corporate directors are currently permitted
  • No restrictions on residence or nationality


  • Not obligatory
  • No restrictions on residence or nationality


  • Minimum number of shareholders: 1
  • Corporate shareholders permitted

Public Filing:

  • Audited financial statements must be filed every year within nine months of financial year-end (exemptions available from audit requirement).
  • Annual return must be filed every year 

Corporation Tax Rates:

  • For financial years commencing 1 April 2015, all profits  will be taxed at the rate of 20%;
  • The corporation tax rate is scheduled to reduce to 19% from 1 April, 2017 and to 18% from 1 April, 2020

Corporation Tax Returns:

Must be filed within twelve months of accounting period end.

Capital Gains for Companies:

Rates above apply subject to potential exemption where a UK resident company sells shares if certain conditions apply

Withholding Tax:

  • Dividends: 0%
  • Royalties: 20%*
  • Interest: 20%*

(*Can be reduced/eliminated with careful planning or on application double tax treaty relief may be available)

Double Tax Treaties:
Over 125

UK - Resources

UK - Blog Posts